Dela Rosa eyes probe on leftist groups’ recruitment of minors

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2019   •   1444

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has filed a resolution seeking to conduct a thorough investigation into the cases of minors who went missing after they were allegedly recruited as members and fighters of leftist groups.

Dela Rosa said he filed on Monday the Senate Resolution No. 38 which sought an inquiry into the issue by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, which he chairs; and the Committee on National Security.

“We really wanted to know the real score behind this issue. An investigation on this case could ferret out the truth, and in the end, we could also recommend actions that will ensure the peace in the country as well as protect and preserve the welfare of our children,” Dela Rosa said.

The neophyte senator said that on July 23, he was visited by some parents of the alleged victims to relay their predicament. The parents said the alleged recruitment has purportedly induced their children, who were all minors, “to leave and abandon their homes permanently.”

Dela Rosa said the parents even reported incidents of alleged “indoctrination and recruitment of their missing children by members of the left-leaning organizations.”

The former chief of Philippine National Police said one parent even claimed to have seen his 16-year old daughter joining a political rally in Quezon City nearly a week after she left for a “leadership training” without their consent.

Another parent claimed that his child was convinced to leave their home for three days to attend a seminar in a state university. The mother reportedly failed to locate her child after learning that the said seminar did not exist.

“There was an alarming report that communist terrorists are recruiting minors as their fighters as young as 10 years old,” Dela Rosa said.

“Same news report also claimed that the communist group has been doing this for decades but their recruitment efforts were intensified now because their armed group have been depleted due to frequent clash with government troops,” he added.

The lawmaker cited a recent statement by the Department of the Interior and Local Government on the Communist Party of the Philippines’ activities to “poison the minds of the children to take up arms against the government,” and teaching them to “join rallies calling for the overthrow of government.”

READ: DILG to Reds: Spare the youth from lies, deception

In an effort to protect the interest and welfare of the children, Dela Rosa underscored the need for urgent investigation into the disturbing reports of the alleged recruitment of minors as rebel fighters.

The senator also noted that the said allegations would be detrimental to government’s efforts in achieving lasting peace in the country.

Duterte ends peace talks with Reds for killing soldiers in relief missions

Marje Pelayo   •   April 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The series of attacks against government forces on humanitarian missions during this time of crisis is the final straw for President Rodrigo Duterte to end peace talks with the communist rebels.

“I’m so sad about this development but there will always be a time for reckoning. There is no more peace talks to talk about,” the Chief Executive said in his late night address on Monday (April 27).

A number of soldiers were killed and wounded in several encounters with members of the New People’s Army — the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing — throughout the month of April.

Three soldiers died and four others were hurt in an encounter with the NPA while conducting security patrol during the distribution of the social amelioration grant in Sitio Tugas, Barangay Carabalan in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental on April 19.

An Army soldier was also killed in a remote village in San Jacinto town, Masbate province on the same day.

Two soldiers, meanwhile, were killed while three others were wounded in an attack by communist rebels in Aurora province on April 21. The soldiers were stationed in the area guarding the conduct of aid distribution. 

Two more soldiers were injured in an attack by NPA rebels in Victorias City, Negros Occidental on April 24.

The Philippine Army said the soldiers, together with members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were conducting a security patrol and information dissemination about COVID-19 in the area.

“I am not and I will never be ready for any rounds of peace talks simply because the NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines, has no respect either for their spoken works or in their deeds of killing soldiers who are on humanitarian missions,” President Duterte stressed.

READ: Duterte threatens to declare martial law if NPA attacks continue

The President earlier threatened to declare martial law if atrocities against government forces engaged in relief distribution continue. 

READ: Duterte’s new martial law threat, a cover-up for failed COVID-19 response — CPP

But the CPP, unfazed by the President’s warning, responded by accusing him of using the NPA as an excuse ‘to cover up’ the administration’s failed response against the COVID-19 crisis and to carry out his agenda of imposing martial law. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

Ceasefire extension with NPA up to Duterte, anti-insurgency task force – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The decision on whether or not to extend the administration’s unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels is up to President Rodrigo Duterte and the National Task Force on Ending Local Armed Conflict, Malacañang said on Sunday.

“On whether government would extend the unilateral ceasefire, this matter is something the National Task Force on Ending Local Armed Conflict can discuss with the President,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

The government’s declaration of unilateral ceasefire against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) lapsed on April 15 while the rebels extended its truce until April 30 or until the end of the COVID-19 Luzon-wide community quarantine.

However, Roque said the rebels violated their own declaration of ceasefire when they “forcibly seized relief goods last April 7 intended for Barangay Guinmayohan residents in Balangiga, Eastern Samar” who were affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

“The call for peace is everyone’s desire and it has become more urgent in the present state of calamity and public health emergency,” he said.

“We find it, however, unfortunate that the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) themselves violated their own declaration of truce in the form of violent armed encounters with government troops,” he added.

The CPP earlier denied it was behind the incident in Samar, accusing the military of resorting to outright lies and propaganda amid the COVID-19 crisis.

But the Armed Forces of the Philippines stood by the veracity of its report against the CPP-NPA. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Dela Rosa on Espenido being in drug watchlist: “I am vouching for his integrity.”

Marje Pelayo   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald dela Rosa wants to know the person who included the name of P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido in the government’s drug watchlist or list of cops linked to illegal drug trade.

Senator dela Rosa said it surprised him to hear that Espenido’s name was on the list when it wasn’t the case when he was still the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Hindi ko nakita noong panahon ko, otherwise, hindi ko iyan i-a-appoint (I didn’t see (his name) during my time, otherwise, I wouldn’t have appointed him),” the Senator said.

Dela Rosa transferred Espenido from Albuera, Leyte to Ozamiz City.

Espenido spearheaded the raids that resulted in the killing of then Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and the downfall of the Parojinog drug chain.

Given Espenido’s service history, dela Rosa expressed doubt as to how his name ended up in the President’s drug watchlist.

“Saan galing yan? Lumabas lang out of thin air? (Where did it come from? Did it appear out of thin air?),” the former PNP Chief said.

He urged that the PNP leadership should investigate how it happened, adding that there might be a ‘syndicate’ inside the PNP who wanted to dishonor their comrades.

“Dapat ungkatin ng PNP kung sino ang gumawa ng report na iyan, most likely sindikato na pulis ang gumawa noon (The PNP should investigate who made that report. It’s most likely a syndicate of cops who did that),” dela Rosa noted.

“Dahil kung andyan pa iyang mga pulis na iyan most likely meron na naman iyang gagawing kalokohan sa ibang kasamahan nila na makakalaban nila (Because if those cops are still in position, most likely they will repeat their follies against other cops who oppose them),” the Senator added.

Senator dela Rosa clarified that Espenido still has his full trust and similar to President Duterte, he doesn’t believe Espenido is involved in illegal drugs trade.

“He is my man I am vouching for his integrity,” dela Rosa said of Espenido.

“Kilala ko siya na matino siya (I have known him as a straight cop),” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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